PRC Urges International Community to Rapidly Resume Funding to UNRWA Amid Gaza Famine

PRC Urges International Community to Rapidly Resume Funding to UNRWA Amid Gaza Famine

UNRWA accused Israel of detaining and torturing some of its staffers, coercing them into making false confessions. UNRWA spokeswoman Juliette Touma said in a statement: “Some of our staff have conveyed to UNRWA teams that they were forced to (make) confessions under torture and ill-treatment.”

According to UN reports, Palestinian detainees gave testimony of beatings, sleep deprivation, sexual abuse and threats of sexual violence against both men and women detained by the Israeli military. Some of the detainees are also reported to have died while in Israeli custody, at times allegedly as a result of the abuse they suffered in detention. 

Recently, the state of Canada has announced it is lifting a freeze on funding to the UN agency for Palestine refugees after facing criticism for cutting assistance during Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

 Similarly, it is welcome that Sweden announced Saturday March 9, 2024 that it would send 200 million kronor (£15m) initially, after UNRWA agreed to more checks on its spending and staff.

 As Sweden is the fourth largest contributor to the agency's budget, and Canada the 11th largest, these funding contributions are of vital importance, in particular to Palestinians in Gaza, who facing Israel’s genocidal weaponization of starvation.

 At least 31,045 people have been killed in Gaza and 72,654 wounded in Israeli attacks since October 7, Gaza’s Health Ministry says. About 72 percent of the victims are children and women. “In the past 24 hours, the Israeli occupation committed eight massacres against families in the Gaza Strip, resulting in 85 martyrs and 130 injuries,” the ministry said. The death toll includes the 25 Palestinians who died from malnutrition and dehydration. 

In light of the ongoing war, it is a crucial development that many Western donors to UNRWA had decided to halt funding after unsubstantiated claims from the Israeli regime. The international community must also initiate calls for sanctions on Israel, as it is evident that every demand for a ceasefire has so far been ignored.

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